Proposal to allow larger trucks 'shameful', says safety campaigner

A government proposal[1] to allow even larger trucks on our roads will inevitably lead to more road deaths, says the car review website

Editor Clive Matthew-Wilson, who is an outspoken road safety campaigner, says:

“Trucks make up just 2.5% of the vehicle fleet[2], yet, in 2014, 67 people died and a further 772 were injured in road crashes involving trucks[3]. This was 23% of all deaths and 7% of all reported injuries on our roads.”

“The last time the government allowed larger trucks on our roads, we were assured that these trucks would help reduce the dreadful road toll. In fact, after dropping in the years after the 2008 financial crash, trucking accidents are on the increase.”

“In 1980, truck accidents made up about 12% of the road toll. That figure has since nearly doubled.”

“Obviously, we can’t do without essential services such as rural stock trucks and milk tankers, but we can do without most of the long-haul freight trucks using public roads.”

“Long haul freight trucks are not only a serious road hazard, but they’re often not necessary. The government’s own studies show that transporting goods by sea freight and rail is far more efficient than transporting goods by truck[4],[5].”

“I’m not attacking truck drivers, who are generally highly skilled and courteous to other motorists. I’m attacking the system that effectively pits cars and trucks against each other. Often the truck driver is not at fault, but when a car and a truck collide, size wins.”

“The government’s attempts to justify adding larger trucks to our roads do not stack up, unless you’re one of the trucking companies. It’s shameful that the government allows the trucking industry to run government policy, against the interests of most New Zealanders.”

“If we moved long-haul freight onto rail, and electrified the network, we would drastically reduce the road toll, drastically reduce pollution and reduce the nation’s dependence on fossil fuels.” 



[1] Discussion opens on vehicle size and weight, Hon. Craig Foss

[2] Fleet makeup size, Road Transport Facts, Road Transport Forum

[3] Trucks 2015, Ministry of Transport,

[4] Freight transport efficiency: a comparative study of coastal shipping, rail and road modes, 2012, NZTA research report 497

[5] In 2000, the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) calculated that transporting goods by road used 3.1 million units of energy to move one ton of goods one kilometre. By comparison, moving the same goods by rail used only 0.61 1 million units of energy, even allowing for the energy used when the trucks picked up the goods at the railway station.